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Top prospect MacKinnon looks to improve even more

by Nathan MacKinnon

Nathan MacKinnon will enter his second season in the QMJHL in 2012-13. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward had 31 goals, 78 points and a plus-11 rating as a rookie last season. His 47 assists led all first-year players in the league, and he finished second to 2012 first-round draft pick Mikhail Grigorenko in voting for the QMJHL Rookie of the Year award. MacKinnon hails from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, the same hometown as Pittsburgh Penguins star center Sidney Crosby. He recently helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal after scoring a hat trick in the championship match against Finland at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial in Slovakia in August. He finished the Hlinka with five goals and six assists in five games. MacKinnon will be maintaining a blog on all season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft in Newark, N.J.

Hello everybody! My name is Nathan MacKinnon, and I am going into my second season with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

I gained lots of experience from my first year and am excited to get back at it in a few short weeks when the season opens.

I was born in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, to two awesome parents and a sister. Luckily for me, my parents were very athletic. My mother, Kathy, competed as the youngest swimmer in the Canada games. My father, Graham, was a marathon runner. Growing up, I enjoyed many other sports besides hockey, such as soccer, basketball, paddling and tennis. When it was time to give them up and focus on hockey, it was definitely difficult. I was also a fairly athletic kid and picked up sports easier than others.

Playing minor hockey for the Cole Harbour Red Wings was an amazing experience. You're playing with the same group of guys for nine or 10 years and create a special bond. Cole Harbour was a great spot for development. Lucky enough for me, I always had a good coach and really have to credit my success now to all those hours put in and the help I received growing up.

When I was 14 years old I decided the best way to continue my hockey development would be to go to Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota. Right away it felt like home, and was everything I imagined and more. Playing at Shattuck for two years got me ready for the next step in the QMJHL. Living away from home and adjusting to new surroundings really forces you to mature quickly and be more independent.

I am currently playing for the Halifax Mooseheads. It's extra special for me to be playing for Halifax because it is my hometown and growing up I was always a fan. Last season was great. The team overachieved and made it to the third round of the playoffs. That really brought back hockey fever here after the previous three rough years.

We have many returning players from last year and are supposed to be a strong team and do great things. With all these expectations we have, I hope, as a team, we can focus on getting better every day, keep grounded and see where that takes us.

I hope you enjoyed my blog and continue to read them throughout this year.

Follow Nathan MacKinnon on Twitter at: @Mackinnon9

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